Trust in News Organizations
Americans in general are losing trust in major news sources, as surveyed by Gallup and other major polling institutions. The Pew Research Center attributes this to an increasing divide in partisan politics. This makes it harder for Americans to have productive discussions on a range of issues involving politics. However, distrusting information based upon a political narrative, instead of a reasoned examination of verifiable facts, contributes to the break down of political discourse and an inability to reach compromise. It is among the greatest threats to the viability of our democratic system. An informed public is essential for our system to work and that entails the ability to discern fact from falsehood. While differing viewpoints are the basis for 1st Amendment protections of freedom of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly, opinions that are based upon out-right falsehoods, misrepresentation of facts, or malicious intent are a direct threat to the stability of our system. An individual is free to believe in whatever they want, the conflict arises where that belief translates into specific actions that affect other individuals, or the group as a whole. The guaranteeing of rights also requires the imposition of responsibilities.
- Gallup Media Use and Evaluation Survey
- U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided
Evaluating a News Source
- Consider the source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info.
- Read beyond the headline: Headlines can be outrageous in effort to get clicks.
- Check the author: Do a quick Google search on the author. Are they credible?
- Determine if sources support the story: Click those links. Determine if the subsequent info actually supports the story.
- Check the date: Social media posts are often out of date, google searches can return old stories.
- Consider that it might be satire: If it seems too outlandish, it might be satire. Do some quick research on the site and author to find out.
- Check your biases: Do I assume it is credible, because I already agree with it?
- Ask the experts: Consult one of the fact-checking sites.
Vetted News Sites
In our highly polarized political environment, it is difficult to find news sites that people across the political spectrum will agree are credible. However, there are some that are more likely to be accepted than others. However, just because someone believes a site is not credible, does not make it so. What makes it credible is it's commitment and process for reporting information. Below are sites that that you can use to find news for current events in class.
Generally Considered Credible
- The Wall Street Journal
- Home - BBC News
Evaluating News Sites Resources